iLEAD Exploration Remains Open Virtually for Learners

iLEAD Exploration continues to operate its independent study model in an entirely virtual format.

Feb 1, 2021 @ 18:00

Student Support

Our News & Events

Math Intervention

Math Intervention

The beginning and end of the school year are common times for families to begin wondering if their learners need some intervention or extra support. If you are concerned by your learner’s end-of-year MAP scores or progress made this year, please speak with your EF about fun supports you can explore over the summer break. This presentation (PowerPoint here) from the school’s intervention coordinator explores the basics of math intervention. Look for more support and information to be rolled out at the start of next year.

Student Support Resources

Sending Love

Here at iLEAD we value the well-being of all our learners. Our Student Support teams are hard at work creating and providing services that target and support the needs of our learners. Their team is offering virtual lunch bunches to help learners meet new friends, chat with classmates, check in with a school counselor or just play fun activities…and more! Please check out this calendar for the next lunch bunch.

You can check out guidance lessons and presentations for learners of all ages here. These lessons address such topics as virtual safety, cyberbullying, and coping skills. If you are in need of counseling resources, you can find them here. Topics include anxiety, depression, suicide, and other pressing issues that learners may face.

Lastly, if you have any counseling needs, please sign up here for support. All of the info can be found on our counseling page.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Be Proactive


This month we are exploring Habit 1 from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits: Be Proactive.

Proactivity refers to more than simply taking initiative. It means that as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. Proactive people’s behavior is a function of their decisions, not their conditions. While a reactive person will be affected by the weather being “good” or “bad,” for instance, a proactive person will not.

Proactive people are value-driven. If one of their values is to produce quality work, it won’t depend on favorable weather or circumstances. Proactive people strive to deeply and honestly say, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” and “I am able to choose otherwise.”

In one’s life, many events occur every day. Of these events, there is only a small subset that is of actual concern to each individual. Within that subset, there is an even smaller set that one can actually impact and/or control: one’s sphere of influence. A proactive person spends time focusing on only what he or she can control.

Proactivity is part of human nature, and although the “proactive muscles” may be dormant, as Covey mentions, they are certainly there! To stimulate those muscles, here is a simplified example of one of Covey’s application suggestions: For a full day, listen to your own language and the language of people around you. Pay attention to how many times you hear the reactive phrase “I have to” or “I can’t.” Remember that you always have a choice!

Student Support Symposium


This year’s Student Support Symposium will be held virtually on October 13, 2020. Please register here.

Jonathan Mooney, an award-winning writer, entrepreneur, and activist who first learned to read at 12 years old, will be the keynote speaker. In addition, over 20 exceptional education sessions will be offered. Topics include the following:

  • Understanding the Assessment Process and the Role You Play
  • How Present Levels Drive the Whole IEP
  • Occupational Therapy Activities to Support Optimal Participation in School
  • Understanding Anxiety in Children
  • 8 Skills to Facilitate Learners’ Optimal Communication Skills
  • And many more!

Due to the symposium, the curriculum library will be closed for any pickups on Tuesday, October 13, as iLEAD Exploration staff will be attending the Student Support Symposium. We hope you will find topics of interest to attend as well!

Mental Health Support

Mental Health Support

iLEAD’s Governing Board recognizes that suicide is a major cause of death among youth and should be taken seriously. In order to reduce suicidal behavior and its impact on learners and families, the director(s) or designee shall develop preventive strategies, intervention and postvention procedures. The purpose of this policy is to protect the health and well-being of all district students by having procedures in place to prevent, assess the risk of, intervene in, and respond to suicide.

In developing measures and strategies for use by the school, the school director or designee may consult with school health professionals, school counselors, school psychologists, school social workers, administrators, other staff, parents/guardians, students, local health agencies, mental health professionals, and community organizations. For more information, please email

In order to initiate access to available pupil mental health services, you may contact the school counselor Kathy Tempco at or visit our Mental Health web page for more information.

Challenge of the Week

Challenge of the Week

In case you missed the very informative CAASPP parent webinar last week, here is the link to the Powerpoint that was presented: CAASPP Parent Information Webinar 2020. At the time the video was created, March testing was available, but that is not the case now due to the cancellation of in-person meetings.
With regards to CAASPP testing, the state expects learners to test once schools resume. Please register as soon as possible for your CAASPP spots in April and May so you are sure to get the location you prefer! In the meantime, please know that we are closely monitoring Coronavirus updates and will notify you if things change.
Learners who complete all of their CAASPP testing will be invited to attend an end-of-year OPT In Celebration at a fun, local place to celebrate completing the test! This will be a SUPER fun time to celebrate their hard work on the test!

Challenge of the Week

Challenge of the Week

Before taking the real or practice tests, please have your kids watch this short video, and remind kids that every child tests at their OWN PACE. Encourage them to tune out those around them by creating their own BUBBLE OF PEACE and work in that, paying no mind to what is happening around them.
Additionally, hard questions on the MAP test can actually mean strong test performance. To learn more, visit here: WHAT IS ADAPTIVE TESTING?

Test Taking Skills and English Language Learners


The road to becoming proficient in speaking the English language can be a vibrant and life-giving experience. Bilingual learners are typically exposed to a myriad of creative learning opportunities that include theatre, music, cooking, comedy, books, videos, games and social projects. However, much of this acquisition is informed by regular examinations and proficiency tests. This has the potential to be the source of much frustration and anxiety. Students who are expected to participate in this endeavor can find themselves in a place of vulnerability and apprehension. Likewise, this anticipation is felt by parents who feel helpless about testing results. Understanding how to prepare for testing events and how to process the results are key steps toward feeling confident about the task.

Did you know that bilingual learners are more aptly disposed to take tests?

Studies have shown that those who are learning to speak more than one language demonstrate a higher level of performance across all subject areas. According to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, these students will also score significantly higher on standardized tests than their monolingual peers due to the neural pathways their brains have established. This is encouraging data since standardized testing is a reality of higher education and most career paths!

Good test takers know that the best preparation is an interweaving of the material in everyday life. ELPAC holistically tests in the areas of reading, speaking, listening and writing. Proficiency in academic language is an important area of focus since it is more descriptive and formal than conversational English. In addition, parents ought to emphasize literacy skills. This will increase the learner’s exposure to academic language and integrate actual concepts and questions they will see on the test.

Parent Today provides some fantastic tips to bring your English learner more confidence in a testing situation:

  1. Use the language as much as you can at home and in everyday routines.
  2. Attend events where the language is reinforced in authentic social situations.
  3. Collect multimedia, books, and music to support acquisition in creative ways.
  4. Use repetitive strategies and differentiate the ways they are being learned.
  5. Try to learn in shorter blocks of time more often, rather than cramming in a lot of information in a session.

Reviewing the results is almost as important as preparing for them! If given the opportunity, reflect on the questions that fell flat in an effort to address knowledge gaps. Determine what techniques might be helpful, and plan for how they will approach the next test. If the results aren’t what you were hoping for, celebrate that every test is a learning experience and an opportunity to improve. It is meaningful enough that the child is engaged in the process at all. Every experience truly contributes to the growth and future excellence; test-taking is a key part of the journey!


Challenge of the Week

Challenge of the Week

Learning how a test is formatted and understanding the content will help you ensure your learner feels confident and does well!

The CAASPP assessments are comprised of two components:

  1. CAT: Computer Adaptive Test for ELA and Math
  2. PT: Performance Task for ELA and Math

This week, we are taking a closer look at the ELA (English Language Arts) Performance Task. This section is typically more challenging and learners would benefit from having more time to explore the content of this portion.

For targeted practice, find your learner’s grade level and break the performance task parts down into manageable, bite-sized sessions to help them become familiarized with the format.

3rd Grade Performance Task/Example/Practice (Informational)

4th Grade Performance Task Example/Practice (Informational)

5th Grade Performance Task Example/Practice (Opinion)

6th Grade Performance Task Example/Practice (Narrative Writing)

7th Grade Performance Task Example/Practice (Explanatory Writing)

8th Grade Performance Task Example/Practice (Argumentative Writing)

11th Grade Performance Task Example/Practice (Argumentative Writing)

Learner Spotlight: Joshua Bird

Josh fishing

Homeschooling was not the plan for iLEAD Exploration 9th grader Josh Bird, but by the end of 7th grade it was clear to his mom, Mary, that he was not thriving in his brick-and-mortar school, and something needed to change. “He was so unhappy, with behavior challenges, and just sad,” Mary remembers. Josh enrolled with iLEAD Exploration in the 2018-2019 school year and celebrated 8th grade promotion with a huge smile on his face! Now in high school, he has the best grades he has had in a long time and is engaged, joyful, and confident again. December’s theme of “zest” fits Josh perfectly, as he faces new challenges with curiosity and energy and is always eager to share his enthusiasm.

Josh has a diagnosis of ADHD, and it can be a challenge for him to stay focused on the task at hand, especially in difficult areas of study like writing and literature. He has greatly benefitted from the focused environment of homeschooling. At times, he still has moments of frustration, but with a difference. “He can have the feelings and then process them and understand, one-on-one with me,” says Mary. “In conventional school, he would just miss the entire lesson.” Along with academics, Josh is learning a lot of social-emotional skills that he needs to thrive in life. This invaluable learning is furthered in sessions with iLEAD’s student support team.

The flexible model of homeschool has also allowed Josh to engage more with his passions. Josh eats, sleeps, and breathes fish and any kind of marine life. His goal is to pursue the field of marine biology. At every opportunity (after finishing schoolwork), he helps his dad work on their boat and enjoys fishing. Before visiting a particular fishing destination, Josh will research the exact bait, lures, and rods they will need, and he independently sets up all the gear and bait for himself and his two younger siblings. Josh also loves riding dirt bikes and going shooting with his family, and he recently got a new quad. He has a contagious zest for outdoor life.

Now Josh and his mother, Mary, who works as a nurse, are almost a year and a half into their homeschooling journey. One goal of Mary’s is to help Josh never see his learning differences as an excuse, and she works hard to support Josh in staying accountable and rising to the challenge of high school. Josh is taking one class at a learning center and several through iLEAD Online, and he is doing well!

Mary sums it up this way: “He has grown by leaps and bounds in everything. It has been a huge effort for the whole family, but we are getting there, and the progress is unbelievable. His confidence level is so different, and he is so happy! Days do not always go as planned, and I get frustrated, but then I look at what he’s learned and how far he’s come, and I am so proud.”

Student Support Spotlight: Christine Megnin

Christine M.

I am a recent graduate from California State University, Fullerton with a B.A. in liberal studies. This is my first year with iLEAD Exploration as a member of the student support care team working with middle and high school learners, both virtually and in person. This past year, I acquired a love for health and fitness, so you can probably catch me working out here and there. I am currently obsessed with The Great British Baking Show on Netflix. It’s a little weird at first, but very addicting and now I can’t stop saying the word “scrumptious.” I love being able to travel, meet new people and experience brand new things.
If I’m not working or practicing my baking skills, you will most likely catch me at Disneyland with an ice cream in hand! 🙂



Newsela is a free resource that allows you to choose articles at different Lexile levels so that reading can be easily differentiated between learners with varying reading levels. Articles include the arts, sciences, technology, mythology, history, and more! Newsela also provides comprehension checks and short writing prompts for each article.

For more information, click here.

BOOM! Learning

MAP Testing

BOOM! Learning is an online resource for teachers, parents, and other paraprofessionals to use interactive educational tools with their learners. The program offers customized activities created by teachers and other paraprofessionals for all types of learners to use during virtual or in-person services.

Click here to check it out!

iLEAD Schoolwide Learner Outcomes


Over the course of the 2019-2020 school year, our team will be working with you as we develop a deeper understanding of the iLEAD Schoolwide Learner Outcomes (SLOs). These core competencies — purpose, growth mindset, gratitude, zest, grit, self-control, optimism, curiosity, social intelligence, college and career readiness — were carefully selected to develop the whole child with a focus on academic and social-emotional learning. Each month, we will focus on a new outcome, highlighting and exemplifying each competency to develop these 21st century learning (and living!) skills.

We will be launching this initiative with a webinar exclusively for our iLEAD Exploration families, led by Linda Krystek, founding member of the iLEAD Maker Team and experienced practitioner and expert in the area of social-emotional and academic learning.

Exploration SLO Parent Webinar Flyer (2)

Student Support Spotlight: Kayla Evans

Kayla Featured Image

Hi! My name is Kayla Evans and I am a virtual education specialist for iLEAD Exploration. I live in Derby, Kansas and have been with iLEAD for a year and a half now. I have two beautiful, yet rambunctious boys who are five and one years old. I also have a pug and a miniature schnauzer; both girls. When free time presents itself, I love taking time to self-reflect through journaling, playing piano and singing, and doing yard work! My lawn and I have a special relationship where I’m pretty sure the lawn is currently winning! Working for iLEAD Exploration has been a true blessing in my life and I really look forward to the coming years and success of our amazing school!

Fun fact: I’ve been in the military, both in active duty and now as an Army Reservist, for 12 years and counting. HOOAH!



If you’re looking for a way to keep your learner engaged as this school year comes to an end, BrainPOP is a great option! BrainPOP is one of the complimentary subscriptions offered through iLEAD, and it provides hundreds of animated educational videos accompanied by interactive quizzes, activities, and games. BrainPOP covers the subjects of science, social studies, English, math, engineering and tech, health and music. Their cartoon videos and interactives are engaging and make tough subjects easy to understand. They also have a “free stuff ” section. Here you’ll find access to videos, activities and interactive quizzes just in time for those long summer days!

Summer Fun


Summer break can be a great way to recharge and relax after a school year full of work. We’ve compiled a list of several ideas you and your learner can participate in this summer!

1. Spend time reading.
Summer is a great opportunity to work on your learners’ reading skills by reading with each other. You can also use different websites and apps to assist.

  • For a small fee, Epic will provide your kids with unlimited access to 35,000 books and videos over the summer.
  • ABCYa provides a variety of educational games and activities.
  • Starfall has a host of activities for kids in grades TK-3.
  • Storyline Online reads stories aloud by great actors.
  • Celebrate summer reading with the Barnes and Noble Book Reading Program!
  • Check with your local library about summer reading programs!

2. Stick to a schedule.
If your school year is structured with a specific schedule, structuring your summer with a similar flow can make for an easier transition back to school again in the fall.

3. offers your children the opportunity to bowl for FREE all summer long! Each day, every child gets two free games. Visit their website to find the nearest participating bowling alley near you!

4. Planet Fitness welcomes high school teens ages 15 – 18 to work out at any of its more than 1,800 locations throughout the United States for free all summer long as much as they want! This offer is available from May 15, 2019, to September 1, 2019!

5. Other Fun Activities
Build a fort or tent. Take an afternoon and push your couches close together. Drape them with blankets or sheets and eat a snack or play a game under your fort or tent!
Play hide and seek in the dark. Blackout your windows and prep areas that may be hazardous. It certainly makes for great entertainment.
-Make milk carton boats. Shape an old milk carton into a boat. You can even paint it and stick a toothpick in it with a taped flag! Test it out by putting it in water in the sink or bath. Does it float? If not, your kids can brainstorm ways to fix it.
Complete a puzzle together. This can be a wonderful time to bond with your kids and work together to solve a puzzle.When searching for the right puzzle, look for the correct age group, as there are specific difficulty levels out there!
-Write in shaving cream. This may get messy, but what a fun way to write! If you’re prepared for the mess, have your kids practice their ABCs.
Paint rocks. Have fun painting faces or designs on rocks with your kids. You could use these as door stoppers or paper weights!
Balloon tennis. Using paper plates, paint stirrers, and air-blown balloons, you can easily make this fun summer kids’ activity for the outside. You could also play this inside since they are hitting a balloon!
-Homemade water blob. Using plastic sheeting and duct tape, create your very own water blob!
Squirt gun water painting. With watercolor paper, watercolors, an easel, and a squirt gun, painting is made fun!
-Glow in the dark mason jar. You can make believe with this glow-in-the-dark jar! You can capture fairies or even use it as a night light. The results are radiant!
-Dig for fossils. This activity involves preparation, but the fun your kids will have is a lasting effect. Bury different items in dirt-filled shoeboxes and have your kids discover different items!
-Egg drop. Obtain a set of eggs you don’t mind wasting and have your kids come up with inventive ways to secure and protect an egg so that when you drop it from a window, it does not break. This can include placing the egg inside a shoebox filled with foam, or any other creative method out there.
-Make a video. Take the family video camera and have your kids video record the summer-y nature outside with commentary, conduct talk shows outside, or be actors and actresses. It can be an amusing memory to look back on one day.

Splash Math

Splash Math

Splash Math is a fun and engaging math program for children in grades K-5. Splash Math uses games and interactive characters to help your kids work on math problems. While learning, they are earning coins and rewards for working hard on their math problems. This site is also aligned with school curriculum, and has been proven to help improve your learners’ test scores! Splash Math works on desktops, laptops, Chromebooks and iPads. To create your free account, click here.

Student Support Spotlight: Kelly Adkins


My name is Kelly Adkins and I am a school psychologist. This is my first year with iLEAD Exploration and I love working alongside educational facilitators, education specialists, and parents to help learners reach their potential. As a school psychologist, I conduct initial and triennial special education evaluations for learners from kindergarten to 12th grade.

I live in Anaheim Hills, California. I live with my husband, our one-year-old son Travis, and our three crazy dogs. I love spending time with my family outdoors and doing things like camping, deep sea fishing, dirt bike riding, off-roading, hiking, snowboarding, archery, mountain biking, and exploring new places.

My husband and I have been married for five years; however, we have been together since we were sophomores in high school! We were set up by my stepsister and have been together ever since!

Favorite quote:
“You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

App Review: Montessori Numbers for Kids


The Montessori Numbers for Kids app offers many different activities in one app for just $3.99. Your learners can use this app to count, trace numbers, use counting blocks, and so much more! This app is offered in the Apple App store.


30 Ways to Make Math Fun for Elementary Kids

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There are many ways that math can be made fun and engaging for kids!

This link provides 30 different ways to encourage math throughout the day.

Tips For After Testing


Test anxiety can linger for a bit once the test is over! Below is a list of tips your learner can follow once they’ve completed their state testing.

  1. Talk about it with your teacher or parents! There might be some rules about how much you tell people about what’s ON the test, but you can certainly talk about how you think it went. Focus on the positive.
  2. REST! You just worked really hard! Give yourself some time to relax if you can.
  3. Move ON with your life! There is nothing left for you to do. Worrying about how you did won’t change anything. Using the words of a popular snow queen, “LET IT GO!” Remind yourself that you did the absolute best you can do, and take some time to celebrate this big accomplishment!

Please refer to April’s Student Support Newsletter to read tips for before and during testing.

Downs, C. (n.d.). Brown University. Retrieved from Managing Testing Anxiety:

Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind


At iLEAD, we believe consistent development and growth are vital to one’s well-being and to our community as a whole! Over the past year, our staff has been collectively studying and implementing the philosophies and exercises put forth by Stephen Covey in his widely renowned book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The concepts explored in this book are useful for people of all ages and from all walks of life! We will continue summarizing each habit in the Monday Message, and we hope it will encourage you to explore the habits at a deeper level by demonstrating and practicing them in your own environment.

Habit 2: Begin With The End In Mind
In the second chapter of his book, Covey states that decisions must be made strategically. The author literally begins with the end when he asks the reader to imagine his/her funeral and what others might be saying and thinking. What do you want them to say? What do you want them to think? These are the real core values that you probably care about most, and should therefore be the ones on which you focus your life’s work, both personally and professionally.

Lead yourself toward your goals from the beginning and plan strategically. When you do this, you will find that you can anticipate obstacles and distractions. You will be able to cope and work with them more effectively! The planning you have already done will enable you to reach your goals faster and prevent you from wandering down wrong or unhelpful paths. Happy planning!

Preparing for State Testing


What is Test Anxiety?
While it’s completely normal to feel a bit nervous before a test, some learners find test anxiety debilitating. Racing thoughts, inability to concentrate, or feelings of dread can combine with physical symptoms like a fast heartbeat, headache, or nausea.

Below we have compiled proven testing tips from Brown University for you and your learner to refer to before, during, and after the test.

1. Realize that there are practice tests available and use them not only to work on your test-taking but also to practice controlling your anxiety level.

2. Remind yourself of past successes. You can do it!

3. Visualize completing the test successfully despite your anxiety.

4. Get a good night’s sleep for several days before the exam. With adequate sleep, your ability to think clearly and to deal with anxiety will both improve.

5. High anxiety can increase with high consumptions of caffeine. Try to avoid over caffeinating on the day of the exam.

6. Eat a nutritious breakfast before the test and pack smart snacks for ongoing energy. Look for foods that offer a steady stream of nutrients, rather than a sugar high followed by a crash.

7. Feeling rushed will only amp up the anxiety. Pack everything you need for the exam the night before and set the alarm so you can get out the door on time.

8. Get to the test site a little early, but try to avoid talking with other learners right before the exam, as their anxieties may increase your own. Instead, take a walk around the building and silently talk to yourself, breathe, and/or meditate. Moving your body can help rid you of some of the nervous energy you are experiencing.

For more test-taking tips, see our test taking tips post that can also be found in this month’s newsletter.

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